Saturday, January 1, 2011

Matty Boy lends a hand to the American economy.

I don't like shopping. I tend to buy stuff and use it until it wears out, then try to figure out how to use it in its decrepit and flawed state.

When I finally decide to shop, I have a three step process.

1. Do I need something?
2. If the answer to question #1 is yes, can I afford it?
3. If yes to both questions #1 and #2, do I know where to get it?

If yes to #3, mission accomplished!

Because of a favorable work situation at long last, I am in the unusual position of having a few nickels to rub together, which means I can ask the Three Essential Questions of Shopping™ about what is euphemistically known as a Big Ticket Item.

The recliner I bought early this century is no longer truly usable and I need a new one.

So we have a yes to question #1 and I can make a budget to say yes to question #2. The thing is, I am not clear on question #3.

Wednesday was my birthday, and my dad, bless him, bought me a birthday lunch as usual. I asked him if he had time to drive me over to Sears a few blocks away to look at recliners and he said yes.

We went. They had one recliner on the floor.

One. And it sucked.

As my friend Mina put it so well, Iron Curtain levels of service at Western democracy prices.

Okay, that didn't work. My dad, wise in ways younger than his years, advised me I should look online first, and he suggested Big Lots, which sells a lot of stuff at low prices.

Thursday, I took BART down to BayFair and walked over to the Big Lots. Much better selection than Sears and much lower prices, but the stuff wasn't that good.

I sleep in my recliner. I need a good one.

So comes the third step in what is usually a one step process for me.

On Friday, I went to the La-Z-Boy showroom in Emeryville.

Oh. My. Lack. Of. God.

La-Z-Boy is the leader in the industry, so you might think you are getting the Toyota of recliners, but the selection is absolutely astounding and if you sit in just the right one, you will know you are in the Cadillac of recliners.

I could have written "Mercedes" instead of "Cadillac", but La-Z-Boy is an American company that still makes their product in the good old U.S.A., and they definitely know what they are doing. The quality is good, the service is impressive and the sales staff was knowledgeable and low key. I was walking around looking for chairs and I saw other customers in their perfect and near perfect chairs doing everything they could to keep from drooling.

It's reeeeallllly nice.

I have no idea what percentage of people walk into a La-Z-Boy showroom and leave with a product. I have no idea what percentage of bugs wander into a Venus Flytrap and end up lunch. I suspect the numbers are just about the same.

I sat in a lot of chairs that were in my price range, but the one I liked best was the Maverick. I went in with the idea that I didn't want a rocker, but the mechanism of a La-Z-Boy rocker is significantly better than other rocker recliners I've tried, so I was debating between the rocker and the non-rocker, which they call a Wall Saver. There were two versions of the Maverick right next to each other. The salesman who greeted me, a nice fella named Aaron, walked me away from these Mavericks across the showroom floor to a non-rocker Maverick with leather upholstery.

I sat down. I did everything I could to keep from drooling. I may not have been entirely successful.

This was the only attempt to up-sell me. It was about $300 more and I decided, with an itty bitty tear in my eye, the leather Maverick was not for me, even at the end of the year sales prices.

I am now the proud owner of a La-Z-Boy recliner. It will be delivered on Tuesday. If the ownership experience is even half as nice as the shopping experience, I am going to be happy for many years to come, especially given how little I usually like the shopping experience.

If you need a recliner, you should take a look at their selection. I perfectly understand if it is out of your price range, but if you decide to go with someone else, at least you will know what you are missing.


Fran said...

I love a story with a happy recliner ending!

We need a new recliner but I am being really slow about going to look for one and I have considered looking at Big Lots.

Maybe one day I will get down to La-Z Boy and see what's what.

Yay Matty! Yay recliner! Yay favorable work situations and nickels!!

Happy New Year! And Happy Birthday!

Nelly Frittata said...

I think La-Z-Boy should be an ad on your site. I would click on it. Then you would have an extra quarter or two to spend on your new chair! Win-win-win!

Zoey and Me said...

I always recommend La-z-Boy mostly for the quality in the goods. Our last recliner lasted 12 years and is still being used at my son's house. The new one is two years old and looks today like it came off the showroom floor. And it is all leather. I thought we got a good price on it when they had everything reduced for Memorial Day two years ago. Good buy!

Matty Boy said...

Fran: Thanks and best holidays to you, too. It's possible to find the chair you want at Big Lots, and who knows if your local La-Z-Boy showroom will be as well run as the one in Emeryville.

Without any salesman telling me, I figured out spending less would be a false economy for me given how much I use a recliner.

Nelly: I wish I could choose the ads that go up on The Other Blog, but Google does that. At least I'm not getting ads in Chinese from PG&E anymore. Nobody was getting their money's worth with those.

Good news, I made more than $100 in December, so another check will be winging its way to me in January.

Victor: This is my first La-Z-Boy experience and I hope my new chair will last in the ten to twelve year range. If it's as good in my home as it was in the showroom, when I need another recliner it will be another La-Z-Boy, without question.

namastenancy said...

I have found that buying cheap never is a bargain. Even when I have been down and out (and I have been so far down that I put newspaper to cover the holes in my shoes), when I bought cheap I always regretted it. Sweet dreams! I think that you have made a wise choice!

Matty Boy said...

Nancy: I go cheap on a regular basis. I love Two Buck Chuck and Simpler Times lager, I have a no frills old TV and a no frills DVD player. But like I said, I sleep in my recliner so I wanted to make sure I'd get something comfortable and well made. It's nice to see that La-Z-Boy is still a quality company after all these years.

namastenancy said...

You are frugal, not cheap! Frugal is the simpler, smarter option when the more expensive one would be a waste of money. Nothing wrong with two-buck chuck and boxes of mac and cheese on sale. But frugal knows a real bargain and since you sleep in your recliner and will use it a lot, that's a Wise Frugal Decision. Cheap would have been to buy a piece of plastic s&*(t and see if fall apart in 3 months.